One of the most exciting things about watching the Australian Grand Prix is that sense of anticipation realised. You’ve put the time in with pre-season testing with a calculator and a pencil and have a rough idea who might be fast and who isn’t, but until the tyres hit the track in Melbourne that the true order is revealed.
At least some puzzles from testing will be solved. Are the new Pirellis really that bad? Will Lewis Hamilton struggle at Mercedes? Will Lotus challenge for honours? How will the rookies fare? Have Ferrari produced another clanger?
And it’s a great track to use to find these answers out on. The mixture of high speed flowing curves and slower, more technical chicanes are a good test of the new cars as it’s completely different to Barcelona. It also tests the drivers in such that it’s a street track based in a large park, and any mistakes are punished severely. If you’re a rookie, it’s a true baptism of fire.
It’s a fan favourite and has been since becoming an earlier round after replacing Adelaide in 1996. Placing it at the start of the calendar has led to several exciting races and incidents in the 17
It’s also become iconic – the high green walls, the trees, and the leaves that end up on the track down at Turn 4. They’re always there, aren’t they?
As it’s used by the public for 8 months of the year, the track surface is smooth, but also greasy and slippery in the early stages o the weekend. Towards the end of the race is when it’s at it’s most grippiest – look to see cars on the option tyre come through the field in the closing laps.
Forget the fact that the alarm goes off at a ridiculous time on a Sunday – F1 is back!
The Australian Grand Prix – Stats
Race Laps 58
Race Distance 307.574km
Lap Record 1:24.125 (Michael Schumacher, 2004)
2012 Podium 1. Jenson Button 2. Sebastian Vettel 3. Lewis Hamilton
Badger’s Australian Magic Moment